Monday, July 25, 2005

Questions, questions, questions


Sarah Milroy of The Globe and Mail reviews L'Envers des apparences, the current show up at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. From it, I am led to believe that her taste in art and mine are widely different.

You gotta click on the link quickly, because the Globe and Mail shuts off access to their articles rather fast.

The article itself gets a B.

But my questions are:
1. Why is it being published on a Monday, instead of a Saturday? Especially since she gives it a hearty thumbs up?

2. The show opened on May 27, 2005. It is now, July 25, 2005. Why the two month delay to publish?

3. If, as she puts it "Many of the English-Canadian works in this show have been widely seen in other non-Quebec Canadian venues over the past few years -- there were few fresh hits here for the well-travelled gallerygoer." Why did she spend the bulk of the article writing about Tim Lee, Euan Macdonald, Kelly Mark, and Damian Moppett?

4. If, as she puts it "many of the Quebec artists were new to me, a more frequent traveller in English-Canadian circles." Why did she choose to gloss over the very same artists who her readers would be unfamiliar with, by writing "The show is strong overall, but several of the works by Quebec artists in the exhibition came across as overly light, even gimmicky, such as Jérôme Fortin's abstractions made from cut-up plastic bottles, folded paper and other recyclables; Annie Baillargeon's visually complex decorative photo-works (using her own likeness, repeated in mad profusion and variety); or Jean-Marc Mathieu-Lajoie's jigsaw puzzle works that reprise great moments from the history of art. Instead of intriguing us, these works feel like sight gags."

To focus on these last two questions, Ms. Milroy spends two paragraphs on Tim Lee, two paragraphs on Euan Macdonald, one paragraph on Kelly Mark, and three on Damian Moppett. She then slips Jérôme Fortin, Annie Baillargeon, Jean-Marc Mathieu-Lajoie into one sentence! And then isn't mentioning all the artists involved the Canadian thing to do? If so, where are the obligatory references to Germaine Koh, Taras Polataiko, and Yannick Pouliot?

Then (and finally) she writes "Spending time in this show made me think about how minimal the opportunities for contact are between French- and English-Canadian artists, curators and critics." Could I suggest, kindly and politely that next time, instead of "jet-setting" in for the press froo-ha-ha that accompanies any museum exhibit, that she actually take a week or so, set up some studio visits, go see some galleries, have dinner with some curators (heck I'm certain that Gilles Godmer would be delighted to translate and synopsize his catalogue essay for Ms. Milroy, in English, over dinner , he is bilingual after all). If she needs help in setting it up, I'd be more than happy to volunteer my time and energy to play tour guide - and just so everything was on the up and up I would make her promise that we would never set foot in Zeke's, so she wouldn't think I was hustling her for a review or something.

Hey Sarah! If you're reading, give me a call - (514) 288-2233 we can set something up.

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